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Quotes

Why has the government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.

—Alexander Hamilton, 1787

All the ills of democracy can be cured by more democracy.

—Al Smith, 1933

Sic semper tyrannis! The South is avenged.

—John Wilkes Booth, 1865

I work for a government I despise for ends I think criminal.

—John Maynard Keynes, 1917

Let him who desires peace prepare for war.

—Vegetius, c. 385

To be turned from one’s course by men’s opinions, by blame, and by misrepresentation shows a man unfit to hold office.

—Quintus Fabius Maximus, c. 203 BC

What experience and history teach is this—that nations and governments have never learned anything from history or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.

—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 1830

Written laws are like spiderwebs: they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful.

—Anacharsis, c. 550 BC

He may be a patriot for Austria, but the question is whether he is a patriot for me.

—Emperor Francis Joseph, c. 1850

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

—E.B. White, 1944

The affairs of the world are no more than so much trickery, and a man who toils for money or honor or whatever else in deference to the wishes of others, rather than because his own desire or needs lead him to do so, will always be a fool.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1774

A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.

—Martin Luther King Jr., c. 1967

Treaties, you see, are like girls and roses: they last while they last.

—Charles de Gaulle, 1963